Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Tennis

Andy Murray still on mission to make history

By Paul Newman

The British weather is doing its best to spoil the chances of many of his rivals but Andy Murray, with the welcome assistance of the Centre Court roof, is safely through to his seventh successive Wimbledon quarter-final.

The defending champion, a 6-4 6-3 7-6 winner here last night over South Africa's Kevin Anderson, has yet to drop a set.

Anderson, the world No 18, presented Murray with his stiffest test yet, but the 27-year-old Scot came through it with barely a blemish.

Thanks to the roof, which was needed for the latter half of the match after another rain-affected day, Murray is through to the last eight on schedule, which is more than can be said for the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, whose fourth-round matches have been delayed until today.

If they win, Nadal and Federer will have to play again tomorrow, though at least they are not in the position of Stanislas Wawrinka, who is facing five matches in seven days if he is to make the final.

Murray will expect to play his quarter-final tomorrow against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, the champion of Queen's Club, who beat Leonardo Mayer 6-4 7-6 6-2.

"All of the matches are tough," Murray said. "Everyone in the quarter-finals of Slams is playing top tennis. I just have to do what I've got to do and concentrate on my side of the court.

"I'm just trying to stay concentrated when I'm out on the court. I don't worry about everything else that's going on outside of it and everything that's said.

"I just try to play tennis and not worry about the rest, but when you play in front of a crowd like that it gives you a big lift. It raises your intensity and it makes it hard for the opponents as well in tight situations."

Anderson was playing in the fourth round for the first time in six visits to the All England Club.

The South African can use his 6ft 8in frame to hit some huge serves, but on this occasion, with Murray returning with his customary excellence, he never got into a consistent serving rhythm.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of examples of the variety of Murray's repertoire.

Twice he stroked wonderful forehand cross-court passing shots, which were hit flat with barely any topspin and with just enough pace to beat Anderson as he moved forward.

Even more exquisite was a drop shot which was played from behind the baseline and turned almost 90 degrees on landing.

Murray, who is on a 17-match winning streak at the All England Club, flew around the court as if his life depended on every point.

In only the third game, Anderson went 0-40 down and was broken when he put a backhand long three points later. Murray bellowed out a cry of "Come on". The Scot went on to serve out for the first set in 43 minutes without having to defend a break point.

When Anderson served at 0-30 in the opening game of the second set he put what should have been a routine smash into the net. The South African went on to save six break points in that game but on the seventh he put a volley long.

Two games later Murray broke again to go 3-0 up, Anderson netting a forehand under pressure from the world No 5's return.

A few drops of rain had fallen midway through the first set but now, just as Murray was threatening to run away with the match, it started to come down more heavily.

The players went off for 25 minutes while the roof rolled into place and when they returned, Anderson appeared to be more comfortable.

Murray was broken for the only time in the match and Anderson had a point two games later for a second break. Murray held on, however, and by the end of the set normal service had been resumed.

"When it was outdoors I played very well," Murray said. "Then when we came back indoors he started striking the ball better and serving better. I was dropping the ball a little bit shorter than I was in the first set and a half so I had to do a bit more running at the end. I got a bit tentative, but it was a good win because he was playing very well at the end and was making it very tough for me."

Murray will head into the quarter-final against Dimitrov with advice from Sir Alex Ferguson safely stored away.

The former Manchester United manager (pictured) watched Murray from the Royal Box and the pair met for a quick chat after the game.

Murray said: "I chatted to him for a few minutes after the match. Not for long, but just immediately when I came off the court. We stay in contact throughout the year.

"We chat about a lot of things. We talked about my match today, spoke about football, the World Cup a little bit.

"Then he just said a few things, what he's observed when he's been watching me, not necessarily about technical or tactical things, but more mental things, how you respond to tough or tight situations.

"Obviously you're going to listen to someone like him. He's witnessed a lot of big and tight sporting occasions. He obviously knows his stuff."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph